Can a solicitor enter a Scottish trust deed?

Our Trust deed.co.uk advisers have taken phone calls on our trust deed advice line from solicitors who have become unable to repay their debts. Like thousands of others, some solicitors have been hit by the economic downturn which can easily lead to a build-up of debt and increasing struggles to service it. In this article we look at the precautions a solicitor should take to ensure their career is not unduly affected if serious debt has become a problem for them, causing them to consider a trust deed and other options.

The first point to make is that a solicitor, like everyone else, should not hesitate to seek debt or trust deed advice. Your chosen trust deed advisor will work through your income and expenditure information with you, record details of your assets, and list your debts. This information will form the basis of advice on the range of options and outcomes available to you. A Scottish trust deed may be one of these options but there are likely to be others as well.

If you are a practicing solicitor, sequestration (bankruptcy) will almost certainly lead to your ability to practice being suspended by the Law Society of Scotland. You would then not be allowed to practice or hold yourself out as a solicitor until the SRA agree to lift the suspension.

A protected Scottish trust deed is an alternative to bankruptcy which will not necessarily result in your ability to practice being indefinitely suspended.

We have spoken with the Professional Ethics department at the Law Society of Scotland about the effect that a Scottish trust deed might have on a solicitor. The initial step would be for your ability to practice being suspended. However you can then apply to the Practicing Certificates Committee to get the facts of your case looked at individually. We have been informed that a solicitor might well be reapproved, even after a trust deed. However, this may be subject to certain conditions and/or restrictions.

If you are an employed solicitor you will likely need to report your intentions of entering a Scottish trust deed to your employer. They may have to report this to the Law Society of Scotland (as well as you reporting it yourself). In connection with your contract, or any subsequent restrictions or conditions connected to your work, your employer will need to form a view as to whether your continued employment will continue after your trust deed.

If after taking everything in consideration you decide not to enter into a Scottish trust deed, there are alternatives available to you. The debt arrangement scheme is a formal way of rescheduling debt repayments. However, as the scheme is formal, we’d suggest that checks with the Law Society of Scotland and your employer should be made before going ahead. An informal debt management plan may also be an alternative to a protected trust deed with fewer reporting requirements attached to it due to its’ informal nature. However, a DMP will also provide less protection and certainty in other respects.

To find out more about working as a solicitor and using a trust deed simultaneously, or just find out what options are available to you alongside a trust deed, visit our trust deed website and trust deed forum today. Our specialist trust deed site is full of all the information you need to gain a full understanding of the Scottish protected trust deed and how it works. Meanwhile, you can use our trust deed forum to speak to other people using a trust deed and to qualified debt professionals too. You can also use our helpful advice line to get in touch with an expert. Call on 0800 043 7201.

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